Howes: Drop in Higher Ed Outlays 'Doesn't Bode Well' for Michigan Recovery

Too few college students, too many prisoners is a risky imbalance for Michigan, in the view of Detroit News business columnist Dan Howes.

Between 2002 and 2012, state spending per student on higher education declined 35 percent even as public spending per prisoner increased 42 percent. . . .

Embarrassing? You make the call.

His own call is that the situation "doesn't bode well for a state trying to break from the dysfunction of its past and embrace the promise of a growing, better-educated 21st-century future."

Iaf FlogoUnder the headline "State fails higher education test," the business writer looks at new data from Business Leaders for Michigan (formerly Detroit Renaissance):, which wants the governor and legislature to allocate more for community colleges, trade schools and other post-high school education. 

Higher ed outlays account for less than 25 percent of general fund revenue, down from about 40 percent a decade ago. . . .

The state boasts thousands of job openings in such hot sectors as nursing, industrial engineering and computer systems analysis, but roughly 80 percent of them require applicants to possess an associates degree or higher. . . .

An under-educated workforce ill-prepared for the jobs of the present and future undermines the state's economic recovery and threatens longer-term growth prospects.

Read more:  The Detroit News

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